Welsh Anglican church apologises for persecution of gay and lesbian people - but still won't let them marry

'We are not ready to take the step of authorising same-sex marriage'

Will Worley
Thursday 07 April 2016 18:55 BST
File image: The Archbishop of Canterbury met with LGBT campaigners earlier this year
File image: The Archbishop of Canterbury met with LGBT campaigners earlier this year (Getty Images)

The Archbishop of Wales has apologised “unreservedly” for the Church's prejudice towards gay and lesbian people, but maintained that the institution is “not ready” for same-sex marriage.

The Anglican Church in Wales also said that homosexual people should be treated with “respect”.

However, introducing a letter to gay and lesbian Christians, Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: “We are not ready, as a Church, to take the step of authorising same-sex marriage. There is no point in bringing forward a Bill for it to fail.

“That I know will be a disappointment to those who voted for change and will be a deep disappointment to same sex couples within the Church in Wales who long for the opportunity to make their vows in one of our churches.”

The Church in Wales did publish a series of prayers which can be said with a couple following the celebration of a civil partnership or civil marriage.

“We, as bishops, feel that this is the right thing to do at this time. I realise that some people will regard these prayers as too little too late and others will regard them as a step too far.

“No one is compelled to use them, but they are provided for those who would like to do so. These prayers do not constitute a service of blessing.”

The letter conveyed the decision of a meeting of Anglican leaders, the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

It said the Primates “condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and affirmed their commitment again to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation.

“They also rejected criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”

In particular, the letter acknowledged that the Christian leaders had acted unfairly towards LGBT members.

“The Christian Church, including Anglicans, has often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt.

“They expressed their profound sorrow and affirmed again that God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the Church should never by its actions give any other impression."

Despite this, the Anglican Church maintained that any move towards same-sex marriages was a step too far.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union,” said the letter.

The Primates “indicated that they believed that any move away from this understanding is considered by many of them as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.”

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